Duke freshman F Jabari Parker declares for NBA draft

Jabari Parker of the Duke Blue Devils is heading to the NBA.

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Duke freshman Jabari Parker announced Thursday that he will enter the NBA Draft. 

"Ultimately, I boiled my decision down to two simple questions," Parker told Sports Illustrated’s Jeff Benedict. "Which environment — college or the NBA — offers me the best opportunity to grow as a basketball player? Which environment — college or the NBA — offers me the best opportunity to grow and develop off the court? The answer to both questions is undeniably the NBA.

There is a strong chance Parker could be the No. 1 overall pick in June. The 6-foot-8 All-American forward was the highest-scoring freshman in Duke history, the first freshman to lead the Blue Devils in scoring and rebounding and the first freshman to be selected team MVP since Johnny Dawkins in 1983.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement Thursday it was "an honor for us to have him in our program.

"Jabari could not have been better," Krzyzewski said. "He is the epitome of what you would want a basketball player to be — outstanding every day on the practice court and in the classroom and a very humble young man. He had a fantastic freshman year and is so deserving of the opportunity to play in the NBA and follow his dream."

Parker, who is from Chicago, is the fifth Blue Devils player to enter the draft after his freshman season, joining Corey Maggette, Luol Deng, Kyrie Irving and Austin Rivers.


Earlier this week, Parker was in Oklahoma City with his parents to accept the Wayman Tisdale Award as college basketball’s top freshman. 

Parker led the Atlantic Coast Conference with an average of 8.7 rebounds and his 19.1 points were second only to North Carolina State’s T.J. Warren, who entered the NBA draft last week.

The draft is June 26.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report